Care Questions : Article 17Care Questions : Article 17

Your Care Questions Answered by Angela Gifford - ARTICLE No.17

"My Mother is housebound but really does need to see a dentist. Her old dentist (last visited many years ago) cannot help her. Are there travelling dentists?"

Answer : The Community Dental Service provides treatment for people who may not otherwise receive dental care, such as your Mother.

You can contact them by either contacting your local Community Dental Service (number in your local telephone book) or by going to NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. The call is charged at local rate and the service is open 24 hours per day.

"My brother, who is a pensioner, lives in Spain. He is a British National who has lived there for the past five years after retiring from work. He lived and worked in Britain for all his life before retirement. He now has a health problem and wants to come back to my home and receive treatment under the NHS. However, he has been advised that he is not entitled to free treatment and will have to be treated as a tourist and pay for his treatment in advance. Is this the case?"

Answer : Yes, the Government is trying to close a loophole in the NHS that allows foreigners to travel to the UK for treatment and receive it free when they would have to pay for it in the country where they live. Unfortunately this includes British people who have chosen to live elsewhere in Europe.

"I think my health situation qualifies me to register as a disabled person as I understand I can then claim some benefits for myself. Can you tell me how I register as a disabled person?"

Answer : You can register as a disabled person with your local council. They have a statutory duty to keep records of disabled people in their area in order to allow councils to plan appropriate services. The council may then check with your GP to seek verification of your disability. Once you are registered you can then receive some concessions as a disabled person such as reduced public transport fares. Being registered as disabled will also stand as proof when applying for discounts from non council services/facilities e.g. British Rail Discount Card

"As a pensioner I have been told that I can register with my gas and electricity company for free services. What are they please?"

Answer : Gas and electricity suppliers should have a Priority Service Register, which gives certain groups of people free services. The group includes pensioners, disabled people, blind and visually impaired people, people with hearing impairments or people who are chronically sick.

The free services available are a free safety check of your gas appliances including fitting, special controls and adaptations to help make your gas and electricity appliances easier to use and a Password Scheme that can protect you against bogus callers who pretend to be from your energy suppliers.

Membership of the scheme also entitles you to extra advance warning if your electricity supply has to be cut off for planned work. You can also have your bills sent in Braille, large print or via a tape, or a copy of them sent to a friend or relatives if you feel this would be helpful.

Anyone living in your home is eligible to become a Member and if there are circumstances when your gas supply has been disrupted or turned off for safety reasons, then your gas supplier will provide you with alternative cooking and heating facilities.

To become a Member contact your supplier, whose details are on the back of your gas or electricity bill.

"I would like to arrange to be buried at sea. How can this be arranged and have you any idea of the cost?"

Answer : To be buried at sea you have to obtain a licence, for which there is no charge from the Dept. for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Burial at sea is only arranged at specific locations approved by DEFRA. Off the South Coast there is an approved location near Newhaven in Sussex and to the West of the Isle of Wight.

Funeral Directors can arrange the burial for you or you could contact a charity such as The Maritime Volunteer Service. They have a vessel which is licensed by DEFRA to carry out committals in conjunction with your undertakers. To contact your local DEFRA look in your local telephone book and to contact the Maritime Volunteer Service call 01892 853500